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Pasts, Presents, Futures? Critical Approaches to Cultural Heritage in Central Asia

Dates: 5 to 22 September 2022

Course Fee: 650 Euros

Deadline: 15 June 2022

Language: English and Tajik Language Lessons

Level: Undergraduate and Postgraduate

In the multidisciplinary summer school, international and Tajik students will come together to gain a deeper understanding of the plurality of cultural heritage which exists in Central Asia and beyond. Through an Area Studies approach, which places great value on local forms of knowledge production, local languages, and dialogical research methods, the students will create dialogical research groups to investigate different perspectives on creating, consuming, and conserving cultural heritage, posing questions such as: How is cultural heritage defined in an area such as Central Asia which has undergone great social change since the end of the Soviet period? What role do identity, language, and religion play in discourses surrounding cultural heritage? What space does Soviet heritage occupy in Central Asia? How is cultural heritage created, consumed, and conserved in Central Asia by various actors?

In order to place a Tajik perspective on cultural heritage at the forefront of the summer school, international students will be offered an intensive crash course in Tajik language that will be delivered in combination of language lessons, tandems with local students, and small practical exercises in Dushanbe. Beginners will receive tuition in basic conversational Tajik, while more advanced students with prior knowledge of another Persian language will be attending advanced classes. From the second week onwards, students will be expected to conduct their own mini-research projects in small groups consisting of international students and students from Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP), selecting one aspect of cultural heritage in Central Asia (for example a material object, language, religious practice, space, etc.) and investigating its meaning and context. This assignment, which will contribute to the final assessment, will be complemented by a combination of lectures, workshops, discussions, reading circles, laboratories, focus groups with researchers from the University of Central Asia, and excursions that will support the students in critically examining topics relating to identity, space, language, material culture, and religion in the context of decolonial approaches to cultural heritage creation, consumption, and conservation. While there will be a strong focus on anthropological methodologies, students will be encouraged to try new methodologies and select approaches specific to their chosen topic. In the final assessment, students will present their mini-research projects to the rest of the summer school participants, teaching staff, and other researchers from the University of Central Asia.

Application deadline for the programme is 15 June 2022. The courses will be offered in English language along with Tajik lessons.

For more information, please contact: akhp.dushanbe@ucentralasia.org.